Politics and science meet at Phoenix March for Science

Over 8,000 people gathered at the march in Phoenix, which was attended by multiple city officials and a congressional hopeful

Scientists and politicians came together in protest as the Trump administration continues to enact an agenda that rolls back regulations and environmental protections. 

Nearly 8,000 Phoenicians gathered in front of the Old City Hall Sunday to listen to a group of speakers before they marched through downtown. The march was one of hundreds that mirrored the main event that took place in Washington D.C.

One of the speakers was Arizona attorney and recently announced congressional candidate Deedra Abboud. The candidate detailed her campaign origins and goals.

“Last year, I saw the writing on the wall,” Abboud said. “I saw that families and friends and neighbors were being torn apart by the rhetoric, not just the national rhetoric. It was coming down. It was hitting us in the grocery store.”

Abboud announced her run for U.S. Senate April 10.

“I knew that I had to be part of the movement; the movement that united our country. Because it didn’t matter who won that election, the damage was done,” Abboud said. “I could either sit back and be sad, or I could stand up and say that together we could do this.”

Abboud said that jobs could be created through scientific innovation. 

“I believe that we can create jobs for the people in our state,” Abboud said. “I believe that we can create opportunities for entrepreneurs and that is absolutely necessary and we can not do that without science and technology.”

She also said that protecting the environment was a key aspect of her campaign.

“It doesn’t matter what people want to argue about statistics,” Abboud said. “The bottom line is, what you do to the environment comes back.”

Cameron Strauss, a biology sophomore at ASU, said that he was there to march against the budget cuts proposed by the current administration.

“I think science should be better funded,” Strauss said. “I don’t think we should be cutting education and increasing military spending.”

Don Balanzata physics demonstration specialist at ASU and lead organizer of the event, said that politics meeting science was one of the key parts of this event.

Read more: The March for Science is coming to Phoenix: Are you ready?

“We have politicians that are advocating for science stances which is kind of unprecedented,” Balanzat said. “We can connect the scientists and the experts with the people who are in power.”

Balanzat said this was a catalyst for real change.

“Science gives us the knowledge and politicians are the ones who decide what actions to take,” he said. “We need knowledge to inform our actions and we don’t need actions to dictate our knowledge.”

Balanzat said that moving forward, scientists were looking forward to lobbying.

“The next step is to lobby for things like a science and technology committee at the state level, or the country level,” Balanzat said. “There is interest in that from both political sides of the spectrum.”

Read more: ASU prioritizes sustainability while Trump rolls back climate change policies

Despite the current administration's policy positions on the environment, Balanzat said he was confident moving forward.

"I think that it’s going to be an uphill battle,” Balanzat said. “But I think the passion of the science community that is being shown today not just here, but all over the world, is going to mean something to some of the people who traditionally have antiscientific positions.”


Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacwindeschef on Twitter.

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